How has your opinion of Taylor changed from the beginning of the series until the end of book 2?
In the beginning of the series, it was much easier to see Taylor as somewhat of a failure. We lacked an in-depth perspective from him in the beginning, and really only heard of him through his brothers’ and family’s accounts, which really portrayed him as a struggling, distant, and overall unfortunate drug addict. At the end of book 2, however, we have a more well-rounded vision of him. We see that he is truly wanting to change and is more empathetic than we might have originally thought. This allows the reader to feel for him more, hoping the best for his recovery and escape from the extremely messy situation he has found himself in.
How has your opinion of Chris changed since the beginning of the series?
Since the beginning of the series, I have begun to further understand Chris, and have been more exposed to the root causes of some of his actions (never really being around his parents, constantly being in the negative influence of his reckless cousins, etc.), which has given me some degree of sympathy for him as a character. This, however, is not enough for me personally to excuse all of his irresponsible actions involving drug abuse and the bad influence that he has been on his friends.
After reading books 1 & 2, are you rooting for Cathy to end up with Jason or Marc?
After reading books 1 & 2, I am hoping for Cathy to end up with Marc. I think that it was a series of extremely unfortunate events that drove them apart, and that it would be beneficial, for Cathy in particular, to give it a second chance. I believe that Jason is an extremely bad influence on her, and even though he may have kind intentions, the outcome of his actions led to Cathy’s downfall.
What are you honest thoughts on Chris and Lisa’s relationship?
I think that Chris and Lisa’s relationship is extremely interesting, and most likely not healthy for either of them. They seem to be very on and off, and neither one of them is allowing themselves to express their true feelings for each other in a productive way. I think that this relationship is destined to leave one or both parties hurt and is most likely typical of the immature, middle school “relationships” one may find at their own school.
Who are your two favorite characters so far in the series and why?
My two favorite characters in this series so far are Jason and Taylor. Having read the earlier Montgomery Lake High series, I have come to really appreciate Jason’s character development and see him as an extremely inspirational person. He has come so far, and to see where he started has made me even more attached to him as a character. In these past two books, I have learned so much about Taylor, and think that he has the most interesting storyline so far. I find reading about how he deals with his particular situation extremely entertaining and am extremely excited to learn what happens next.
GRIPPED PART 2: BLINDSIDED (JUST RELEASED!)
“What other drugs have you tried?” Lisa asked.
“Weed, mushrooms, ecstasy, mescaline, acid, Adderall, Xanax, Klonopin, and Vicodin, but this one is, by far, the best,” Chris replied without any hesitation.
Lisa widened her eyes. “Wow. You’ve tried a lot of stuff since we broke up.”
Fourteen-year-old Chris Dunkin is known for being the life of the party and everyone’s favorite friend. Despite his amicable nature, he carries around deep-seated pain from his childhood that he frequently numbs with alcohol and drugs.
After hosting a party, Chris wakes up with a strange vibe running through his body and no recollection of the previous night. When he learns the horrifying truth of what his night entailed, the trajectory of his life is changed forever.
REBECCA RONNING, NEW YORK, NY
AWARDED INTERN OF THE MONTH, MAY 2019
Rebecca is a rising senior at Brooklyn Technical High School in Brooklyn, New York. As a city kid, some of her hobbies include riding the subway and exploring the city with friends, making all kinds of art, traveling with her family, and experiencing new and exciting things along the way. She would like to study business in college.